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Warner Bros. Teams with BitTorrent to Offer Movie Downloads

May 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment said Monday that it was teaming up with peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent to offer Web-based downloads of movies and television shows owned by the studio.

Starting this summer, more than 200 films and TV episodes will be available for download on the BitTorrent service for a fee. The movies and films will be available the same day they go on sale at retail outlets.

The price of a download has not been announced, but the company said it expects it to be comparable to the $1-per-download rate charged by other legal Web downloads for TV shows; movies are expected to sell for about the price of a DVD. The shows and movies downloaded using BitTorrent cannot be burned onto a DVD and must remain on the hard drive of the computer that downloaded it.

The alliance between Warner Bros. and BitTorrent is the latest in a string of agreements that large media companies are striking to make movies and television episodes available on iPods, cellphones and PCs. The efforts are designed to key into what media executives believe is a growing consumer need for video to be delivered on a raft of platforms beyond the television and movie theater screen.

In joining with BitTorrent, Warner Bros. is pairing with a company once vilified by the entertainment industry for contributing to the proliferation of illegally distributed video fare. However, BitTorrent reached an agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America in November to develop software that is supposed to block illegal distribution.

BitTorrent’s technology works by relying on other users to contribute bits of a file to a single download.